Microsoft talks up future of Silverlight

Despite growing concerns that Silverlight will is losing out to HTML 5 in the battle for rich media internet applications, Microsoft is treading forward with plans for the Beta release of Silverlight 5 during the first half of 2011.

Microsoft carried out a presentation today of the upcoming Silverlight 5 platform and its development plans, with the platform reaching Beta stage sometime during the first half of 2011.

Introducing over 40 new features, Microsoft is driving home the message that its platform can do - at least - a lot more than HTML 5, especially if you want to build on existing Windows features. Tightly integrating the capabilities of Silverlight 5 with Windows 7 and later releases, Microsoft is listing hardware accelerated graphics in IE9, direct access to My Documents read and write, encryption, integration with Office apps, remote control, USB device access and a bag full of video and audio tricks.

Right now, Microsoft is positioning Silverlight 5 as the be-all-end-all solution for rich media browser apps that can tap your PC's local resources and bring under its fold another level of integration with Windows, something HTML 5 cannot boast.

Like most things Microsoft-related, however, no single product has had the adoption rate of Windows and Office, but rather relies on the existing install-base of Windows-powered PCs to build up numbers. Silverlight will likely give us more of the same - some will adopt it as it fits in with their Windows strategy - but none will be too polarised to care (except developers and Microsoft, that is).

You could sum it up this way: Silverlight 5 is Microsoft's solution for your next-generation everything.